A recruitment specialist for the oil and gas sector has warned the industry is facing a “skills shortage” amid a surge in demand.
Prodrill Energy Resource Solutions (PERS) has seen recruitment demand increase by 46% between October last year and June.
Managing director Louise Wood said the sector is making a recovery since the downturn, which saw the loss of tens of thousands of workers from the sector.
She said the industry is not yet “crisis recruiting” but is still working reactively to market conditions.
The surge in demand has been a result of improved market confidence, according to Ms Wood, but firms are still reluctant to look too far into the future.
PERS has seen an increased need for on and offshore-related roles in exploration, as well as a requirement for engineers to plug and abandon wells.
Ms Wood said: “I think there’s more market confidence, companies have put off projects as long as they can.
“Companies have been very budget constrained but you can only work with a very thin team over a period of time.
“It’s not crisis recruitment but they just don’t have a long-term plan. Companies aren’t looking to the next five years yet, it’s still very reactive to market conditions.”
As new roles are created through technology and more mature workers leave the industry, Ms Wood said there is a risk of a skills shortage.
She added that workers will need to upskill themselves in order to become attractive to employers, who are looking for “superman, versus Clark Kent” to tackle various roles.
Skills body Opito recently predicted the sector will need to recruit 40,000 people in the lead-up to 2035, including 10,000 in new areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence.
Ms Wood added: “The challenge we’re going to see is more people leaving the industry. We don’t necessarily have the mature competencies we need coming through, the expertise is younger.
“The schools and universities will need to develop skills to meet the challenges ahead for the industry as the engineers of today won’t be the engineers of tomorrow.
“I think we are going to be in a skills shortage because I do believe we lost in the region of about 70,000 people in the last three years. “
To handle the surge in demand, PERS has appointed a new client relationship executive, Kelly Davidson, to support the recruitment team.
Ms Davidson has 25 years of experience in sales and business development.
She said: “It’s great to join such an established business as the market begins to show some signs of recovery and a desire to adapt to the new landscape.”